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Norwegian black metal stalwarts Ragnarok have released a second song, “Sword of Damocles“, from their upcoming new album Malediction. It should go without saying that Malediction will be an excellent ride, as Ragnarok have not disappointed yet in eighteen years of plying their trade, and are one of the bands that managed to survive and outlive the second wave of Norwegian black metal. Their last couple of albums have been their best yet, and 2010’s Collectors of the King was one of the top black metal releases of the year.

Sword of Damocles“ alternates between a slow, tense passage, and faster, blast-beat driven black metal. It builds up to a graceful, anthemic section that conjures up images of a frozen northern wasteland, bloodstained by battle, before dropping down into a harsh, soul-tearing maelstrom of blackened icy Norwegian fury.

Going by the title, the song is about the tale of Damocles, who envied the tyrant King Dionysius II of Syracuse and all his wealth and fortune. The king offered to swap places with Damocles for a day so that he might see what it was like. As Damocles sat down on the throne very eagerly, he noticed a very large sword hanging above him, blade down, held only by the single hair from a horse’s tail. Damocles begged to be allowed to leave, and the King granted him his wish. The tale illustrates the constant fear and danger that hangs over the lives of great men, especially kings.

Listen for yourself:

Sword of Damocles“is the tenth track from Malediction, and was recorded at Endarker Studios, owned by Devo of the legendary Swedish black metal horde Marduk. As an extra gem, here’s the first song that was released, “Blood of Saints“:

Malediction will be released October 30th in Europe, and November 6th in North America on Agonia Records. It can be preordered in various formats here, with the first 100 copies of the vinyl edition being hand numbered brown vinyl.